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Features of Wheelchair Lifts

Lift speed
The speed of a wheelchair lift must meet safety code standards meaning that they do not travel as fast as high speed commercial elevators. Typically a wheelchair lift travels at 8 to 20 feet per minute.

Travel distance
A vertical wheelchair lift can be built to accommodate anywhere from about 8 inches to 23 feet, depending on the code that applies in the area you live as well as the model and type of lift used.

Number of stops
A basic lift services two stops (travel from point A to point B). Vertical platform lifts in enclosures or built into a hoistway can service up to four stops.

Size of platform
The size of the platform varies and it is important to select the correct size to accommodate your wheelchair.

Non-skid platform/ramps
For safety, the platform is covered with non-skid material. An access ramp may be included that automatically deploys and retracts with the operation of the lift.

Call station
A call station is a small device with buttons to bring the lift up or down and there is often a call station mounted near the lift, in addition to buttons location on the lift itself.

Vertical platform lifts generally carry up to a 750 lb capacity. Incline platform lifts are usually rated for a lower capacity of 550 or 660 lb. It is important to understand that the lift must carry the user, as well as the wheelchair or scooter which can be quite heavy.

Entry/exit style
A simple lift design has an entry and exit straight through so you can wheel on and off without turning. Many lifts offer an option for 90 degree on and off if required.

Safety features
Wheelchair lifts should include a variety of safety features such as an emergency stop button, manual lowering, obstruction sensors, safety braking system and automatic door or gate locking. The installation of a wheelchair lift should also include best practices to ensure that there are no hazards to the operation of the lift. This may include the correct style of gate or door, as well as the use of fascia panels to eliminate any possible shearing or pinching hazards when the lift moves.

Wheelchair lift features, clear acrylic gate
The top landing requires a gate. This one features an upgraded clear acrylic insert.
Wheelchair lift features, folding access ramp and lower landing gate
This lift shows the folding access ramp and optional lower landing gate.

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Wheelchair Lift Upgrades & Options

Vertical platform lifts can be ordered with a factory-built enclosure. This is basically a hoistway for the lift. Fully enclosed lifts protect passengers from the weather. Enclosures are metal with metal, acrylic or glass panels inserts and include a full sized door or half gate for semi enclosed lifts. These are commonly used for commercial or public buildings.

Unenclosed vertical platform lifts should include a gate for the top landing which serves as a safety barricade at the top. It should be solid material that is flush with the lift, eliminating any hazards during operation. It should have an automatic lock that only opens when the lift reaches the top landing and has stopped. Use of slotted gates or a non-locking gate is considered unsafe. Gates can be upgraded to be power operated with a button.

Special finishes and paint
Standard lifts are usually offered in neutral colours such as beige, gray or white, but some lifts can be custom painted. 

Wheelchair lift features, factory-built enclosure for outdoor use
This lift includes a factory-built enclosure to keep it weatherproof inside.